Legal U.S. Oscar betting for the third time
Plenty of people have tried to guess who will take home the Academy Award at an Oscars party or with friends. New Jersey –and now Indiana take the movie awards to the next level.
In 2019, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement gave sportsbooks the all-clear to accept wagers on the Oscars. It was an unforged territory for regulated US sports betting, to great success. New Jersey was the only state that offered legal Oscar betting last year, but Indiana joined the party in 2020. Nevada has never booked action on the Oscars. Additionally, other states such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania don’t allow wagering on anything that is not explicitly a sporting event.
How does Oscar betting work?
There is really only one type of bet sportsbooks will offer on the Oscars. Each nominee in a category has moneyline odds that they will take home the award.
The nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards were announced on Monday, March 15 (scroll up to see the “Bix Six” category nominees). Scroll down the page for current odds on the 2021 Oscar nominees.
As an example of how Oscar betting works, let’s take a look at the 2021 nominees for Best Director. Here are the five nominees and sample odds (not current) for each one:
- Chloe Zhao: -1,000
- David Fincher: +800
- Lee Isaac Chung: +1,000
- Emerald Fenell: +1,400
- Thomas Vinterberg: +1,400
The favorite to win the award is Zhao (-670), who directed the film Nomadland. If you bet $100 on Zhao to win and she does, you would get your $100 back and profit $10. In other words, you would have to wager $100 to win $10 (or $10 to win $1, and so on).
Let’s say you bet $10 on Fincher (+800) and he upsets though. Then you would win back your $10 bet and profit $80. In other words, you would win $80 for every $10 you wagered (or $8 for every $1, and so on).
Because there are countless awards show leading up to the actual Oscars, there is typically a clear frontrunner in every category. That means steep moneylines on the likely winners. These bets require you wager a lot to win a little. However, if you can accurately predict an upset, you can make a tidy profit.
This year features some heavy favorites in the male acting categories, but the female acting categories are much more wide open than usual.
Where can you bet on Oscars?
So far, New Jersey and Indiana are the only states willing to offer Oscar bets. We don’t know exactly how many sportsbooks will offer Oscar betting yet and on which categories. So far, DraftKings and its movie buff Johnny Avello are the only site offering lines.
The “Big Six” categories are:
- Best Picture
- Best Director
- Best Actor
- Best Actress
- Best Supporting Actor
- Best Supporting Actress
Why can’t I bet on the Oscars in Las Vegas?
Nevada has only ever taken bets on sporting events, and events that actually take place on the field of play. Regulators have never allowed betting on something that is not a sport.